Purple Community Blog

6 Oct 2016

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Hannah’s Story

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May 15, 2009 – sophomore year of high school
I remember, vividly, walking into my second-hour class.

I remember watching several classmates and friends sob tirelessly, excusing themselves from the room.

I remember seeing Jordan walk down the hallway zombie-like, worn, exhausted, just going through the motions.

October 4, 2016 – reflecting on Breast Cancer Awareness month
It has been seven years, four months and three weeks since Mrs. Kimberly Gayle Pike lost her fierce and courageous battle with breast cancer.

She was diagnosed in January of 2006 with stage 3/4 breast cancer and fought until the very end. She was and still is an irreplaceable friend, role model, daughter, educator, grandmother and mother.

hannahs-storyShe left behind a beautiful family, one that I know she still watches over today. Her son Jordan and I have been friends for a long time and even though I never met Mrs. Pike, I have always felt a very special connection to her – like she crafted Jordan and I’s friendship and meddles in our lives when we are drifting apart.

About a year after she passed away, Jordan shared her journal with me. She wrote in it often, never once complaining about her diagnosis, always praising God and asking him for strength – an unwavering faith that I admire.

Mrs. Pike graduated from Hope College where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, minor in chemistry and a teaching degree. After graduation she started her teaching career at West Ottawa High School where she would teach for 22 years. To honor her, each year West Ottawa places her name on the back of a basketball player’s jersey during their annual purple power week.

I have always thought of my job as intrinsically rewarding and often feel Mrs. Pike played some role in my ending up here. Science and education, two of her passions, are now the very things I have the pleasure of contributing to without being a mathematician, educator or scientist myself.

I wake up every morning knowing that my efforts and the relationships I’m building are helping
Van Andel Institute further research into several types of cancer, including breast, and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.

I know there are many other Jordan’s out there – people who have lost their mother.

I know there are many other Kimberly Pike’s of the world – mothers who have their own special story and journey.

I know these people exist because I meet them every day and I see the great things they are doing in our community. People like Alana and Michael, owners of Pigeon Hill Brewing in Muskegon, whose family has been impacted by breast cancer as well. They use their business to help raise awareness and funds through Purple Community every year so that one day the Kimberly Pike’s of the world can fight back harder and come back stronger.

Join me in honoring and remembering those on a breast cancer journey this month by supporting the MANY events taking place over the next few weeks through Purple Community. Together, we can help speed up the process of discovery and find the cures we need now.